11 Tips For Easing Your Loved One’s Loneliness During COVID
Prospero Health care teams know firsthand how loneliness can impact a person’s quality of life. Our holistic approach to providing home-based support allows us to think creatively about how best to connect family members in our care. Following our prior post about creative ways to connect with loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are sharing more tips for easing loneliness and boredom for those facing serious illness or social isolation.
You might find our suggestions also help decrease your own stress or anxiety levels. We can all benefit from a change of scenery, taking a deeper breath, or laughing out loud, especially during a challenging pandemic.
Travel Far While Staying Close
The pandemic forced artists, performers, museums, zoos, and tourist destinations to rapidly change how they reach their fans, patrons, and visitors. As a result, you can now travel the globe from the comfort of your own home. Why not take your loved one on an adventure to help them feel less shut-in?
Virtual Art Museum Therapy
If your loved one is tech-savvy or has a caregiver who can help them get set up, why not take them on a tour of the Louvre? Travel and Leisure created this list of the 12 Best Virtual Museum Tours for you to explore together. All you need is a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Learning about creatures big and small excites the animal-lover in all of us. Ready to take a trip to the zoo? The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, The San Diego Zoo’s Animal Live Cams, The Online Zoo, The Bronx Zoo, or the Monterey Bay Aquarium have some of the best “zoo-cameras.”
Dig out old photo albums of past trips to relive travel adventures together. You could also take a virtual tour of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Watch the Weather
We all turn to the weather when searching for what to talk about. Why not challenge your family member to pay closer attention to the weather with this elder-friendly weather radio or this less technical glass globe weather barometer?
The Natural Connection
Is your loved one a nature lover? Do they have a window where a bird feeder could be installed? Ask them to keep a report of all of the birds they see. You do the same. Do they have a view of the sunset or moon? You could track the phases of the moon together with a moon calendar.
Books Broaden Horizons
Why not bring multiple generations of your family together to read and discuss the same book in a family book club? Most texts are now available in audio versions if reading is difficult for older family members. To set your loved one’s imagination free, seek out non-fiction or picture books about faraway places.
Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude Together Even Though You are Apart
Research shows the daily practice of mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, or meditation can lower levels of anxiety and feelings of loneliness. Worrying about your loved one during a pandemic is stressful, and incorporating some of these healthy habits can benefit the whole family.
Start a Gratitude Practice or Journal
This will help you prioritize being thankful. Or, keep an ongoing list of things that bring you joy and then read your lists aloud to one another.
Move together mindfully
Why not try doing yoga videos together on YouTube? There are chair yoga classes, tai chi, or guided breathing exercises that you could do together via Zoom or other video chat services.
Remember how you used to love riddles and knock-knock jokes when you were little? Is your family member a jokester? Why not buy each other a joke book and then laugh at each other’s ridiculous jokes, shared together over the phone?
If you are not able to try some of these activities, don’t underestimate the power of a smile or shared laughter. Did you know the physical act of smiling releases feel-good chemical messengers in your brain, like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins? These chemicals actually help us feel less lonely. During a pandemic, when everyone’s smiles are hidden behind masks, cultivating feel-good emotions can help us all feel a little less alone.
COVID-19 continues to keep family members separated from their loved ones, at the cost of many people feeling isolated and alone. Despite those obvious challenges, Prospero’s care teams remain committed to finding creative solutions to help you and your family live with joy and dignity.